Precautions Being Taken at Nursing Homes in Case of Fire

November 28, 2006 -- Posted at 6:16 p.m. CST

JONESBORO, AR -- The fire at the Anderson Guest House in Anderson, Missouri happened early Monday morning.  The group home had fire alarms, but no sprinkler system.

St. Elizabeth's place in Jonesboro was built three years ago and administrator Judy Dunman said they are fully prepared if a fire were to break out.

"We have semi-annual disaster drills where we actually demonstrate evacuation of the patients on all three shifts," said Dunman.

Dunman said they have a state of the art fire alarm system.  If a fire breaks out the alarm system will show what part of the building the fire is located in.

"All of our beds roll and are easily gotten out of the rooms.  During our evacuation training program we actually get the beds out of the rooms and roll them down the hall as if we were going to go outside," said Dunman.

Like St. Elizabeth's Place, Green Acres Nursing Home in Paragould has many of the same features.

"We're required to do quarterly training on evacuation of residents, you know, what to do if there's an explosion or a fire," said Green Acres Nursing Home Administrator Marlisa Thompson.

The fire in Anderson, Missouri did happen at a group home that has some different regulations from nursing homes.  However, when it comes to nursing homes, Arkansas guidelines are ahead of the curve.

"68% of the nursing homes in Arkansas are either fully or partially sprinkled.  We are one of the fully sprinkled facilities," said Thompson.

Arkansas nursing homes take many other types of precautions to keep their residents safe.

Marlisa Thompson said at GANH they have both heat controlled and smoke controlled alarm systems.

Residents are allowed to have fans, lamps, and alarm clocks.

They are not allowed to have microwaves or coffee makers.